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Bottle or breastfeed?

To breastfeed or not? That is the question. Know the facts, stay headstrong and follow your heart...
Latching on
If there’s one word in the breastfeeding dictionary to take note of, it’s colostrum – this thick, yellow first milk, which you’ll produce at the birth, is liquid gold. With the perfect amount of protein, minerals and antibodies, just a small dose of this milk will give your newborn’s immune system the best start in life.
Around two to four days after birth your breasts will become fuller, a time known as the milk ‘coming in’. You’re then all set to breastfeed your baby, every three hours at first. 
Is breast best?
In short, yes: breast milk is free, in plentiful supply, hygienic, quick and easy to deliver, and is jam-packed with good stuff for a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. 
It’s good for you, too: breastfeeding is proven to reduce the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis. And what mum won’t be pleased to hear that it can burn up to 500 calories a day, fast-tracking you back into those skinny jeans.
But, it's not without some cons. As the sole milk provider (you can feel like a dairy cow), you are on call 24 hours a day – and breastfeeding in public does not come without those uncomfortable stares. 
Bottle feeding
Natural suckling wins hands down in a textbook. But we live in the real world, and for many mothers formula feeding is a natural choice.
You can take a break and hand over the bottle to hubby or nanny, and bottle-fed babies can sleep for longer between feeds. What’s more, infant formulas have improved, and are better matched to the ingredients in breast milk. You also have the choice of powder, concentrate, or ready-to-feed milk; there are no nutritional differences, although the same can’t be said for the cost.
On the flip side, formula milk doesn’t have the same health benefits as breast milk, it’s more expensive, and it’s both fiddly and time consuming to sterilise bottles and mix formula several times a day – and night.
Deciding factors
Breast may be best, but it’s not the only way. Feed as you will, do what makes you happy and, most importantly, enjoy bonding with your baby.
Proofreading done by Dr. Sawgata Mallick, iCare clinics, Dubai, UAE.